The Pivot: Fika is a collaboration between a hair stylist and a manicurist whose lives were upended by the pandemic. When their salons closed, they revisited a dream they shared to open their own place. By the time safety regulations were announced this past summer, they were ready to welcome clients to their spacious warehouse built with those restrictions in mind. With a max capacity of five, including the two staff, and 15-minute sanitation breaks built into every booking, Fika is a slow-motion version of the pre-pandemic salon. High ceilings allow for good air circulation and the duo are proudly showing themselves and their clients wearing masks. Other Covid precautions include a strict appointment-only policy, a mandatory questionnaire, and plenty of sanitation stations.
The Backstory: Shannon and Annie had always dreamed of opening a salon together, but they expected it would stay a dream. Shannon has been cutting hair in the city for 12 years, so she had a following; Annie, too, had 12 years in nails and was doing good business in dip nail manicures. When Covid forced their salons to close, they made a bold move. After a walking meeting took them past their Kanata space, the two fell in love with their bright boutique (extra points because it’s also home to popular cafe Thirsty Maiden). A week later they signed the lease and within three months they were open, feeling a lot of support from contractors and the other building tenants. Also in the building is Bathorium, a Ottawa start-up selling bath and body products. Shannon and Annie quickly brought their products in and they are now being sold at Fika, alongside housemade and Canadian-made personal care products.
As for the name, fika is an important concept in Swedish culture. It means to take a pause, enjoy a break with family or colleagues, likely with something to coffee or tea or something to eat. While tea and cake is currently impossible, Shannon said it represents the pace of things at their salon
“Self care is one of the best ways to care for our physical and mental health,” Shannon says. “The name means to slow down and enjoy the great things in life with a friend. Tea is usually served, and we hope to one day be able to do that.”
Fika Beauty, Unit 119, 65 Denzil Doyle Court, Kanata